Portland, Ore. startup Cloud Campaign brings content team to Boulder

Boulder’s community-minded tech hub makes fertile ground for startups

By Tatyana Sharpton May 5 2020

With the high level of tech talent spreading from both CU and the increasing number of large tech companies expanding their operations to Boulder, startups look at Boulder, too, to establish outposts.

Cloud Campaign, an all-in-one social media marketing platform born in Portland, Oregon, plans its expansion move to Boulder this summer. Designed to help agencies better track and organize their clients’ content and data, the startup’s platform helps marketing agencies and freelancers manage multiple social media accounts for other businesses.

Cloud Campaign co-founder Ryan Born.

Currently, Cloud Campaign has five employees at its headquarters in Portland and three in Boulder, which eventually will lead the company’s product and marketing division.

Cloud co-founder Ryan Born plans to move from Portland to Boulder in a few weeks, growing the employee count in Boulder by one more along with two engineers and one marketer, giving them nine total between the two cities.

He was looking for a way to establish a presence in and move to Boulder and this year he made it happen.

Originally, Ryan and his founding partner Ross Gray, who will stay in Portland and to lead the sales and customer success departments, planned to scale the company to 15 employees total. However, they will most likely stick to nine as they evaluate the longer-lasting impact of Covid-19.

Mostly, agencies who use Cloud Campaign manage accounts for regional, mom-and-pop shops. However, some bigger accounts like the Comcast Sports Tech accelerator and Eventbrite are also managed through Cloud Campaign, as well as Boulder’s Boomtown who uses Cloud’s platform through the agency it works with. One Colorado-based agency using Cloud Campaign’s platform includes ESTUS Digital, a marketing agency based out of Greeley.

Accelerator baby

The company, launched just over three years ago in 2017, first experienced Boulder through its notable Boomtown Accelerator program from February to May of last year. The 12-week program, which covers everything from product identity to pitching to investors, provides teams a small amount of startup cash in exchange for a small slice of equity, programming customized for their business, strategic staff support, office space, and expert mentors and exposure.

“Boomtown really covered the whole gamut of what you need to know for early stage growth,” said Ryan. “The experience really opened our eyes to Boulder as a tech scene.”

Ryan presenting during Boomtown’s 2019 Demo Day at Boulder Theater. Image: Cloud Campaign.

With CU breeding “really smart engineering talent” and the influx of large companies expanding to Boulder, Ryan and Ross saw Boulder’s talent pool as a fertile ground to grow Cloud Campaign’s content team without the extreme employee price of bigger cities.

In addition to the talent pool, Boulder also has all the support an early stage startup could need all the way through a medium-sized business, both from the standpoint of investors and the willingness of other companies to meet and help out a growing startup.

Growing in Boulder also offers a community-oriented vibe that bigger cities like San Francisco, with thousands of startups all competing for the same money and same customers, don’t necessarily have. People in Boulder feel much more willing to share expertise, says Ryan, and uplifting other companies and helping others out improves the outcome not just of Boulder as a whole but for both parties involved.

“Boulder is at a unique size,” says Ryan. “It’s substantial enough to where lots of companies are doing cool things but small enough where folks want to help you out. It doesn’t feel like a zero sum game.”

Along with the ability to do in-person meetings with the company’s Boulder network, the team has looked to other successful companies in the area, like SendGrid, Help Scout, and Halp, for connection and guidance.

Covid-19’s impact

Though the virus’s impact has hit a couple of Cloud’s agencies hard, these agencies have provided a kind of buffer between Cloud and the smaller brands really feeling Covid’s effect. Cloud has maintained its clients by giving discounts to help them survive, taking a bit of a hit from a revenue standpoint.

“It’s like the ultimate test of product-market fit,” laughed Ryan. “If you’re still adding customers within a pandemic.”

Despite the timing, Ryan looks forward to his move in a few weeks and connecting with the Boulder startup scene firsthand. Cloud Campaign is always looking for strong engineering talent and always open to meeting business owners in the area.

Header Image:  Founders Ross Gray with Ryan Born with Becca Kmiec, Sales Development Rep, and Andrew Warren, Senior Account Executive, in Mount Hood, Oregon. Image: Cloud Campaign.